This post contains links through which we may earn a small commission should you make a purchase from a brand. This in no way affects our ability to objectively critique the products and brands we review.
Evidence Based Research To fulfill our commitment to bringing our audience accurate and insightful content, our expert writers and medical reviewers rely on carefully curated research.
Read Our Editorial Policy
Welcome to our Harmless Harvest review!
Harmless Harvest is one of the most well-known coconut water brands for a reason.
After meeting with the team at Expo West and speaking with CEO Ben Mand, we learned even more about what sets them apart from the competition, such as their high standards for quality, sourcing, and sustainability.
Not only do they provide excellent-tasting coconut water with more nutrients than other brands, but they also have an admirable commitment to the environment and support for the farmers from whom the coconuts are sourced.
For these reasons, combined with slight deductions for high prices and some customer service issues, we awarded Harmless Harvest an A- grade—here’s how they did it.
Pros and Cons
- Highest quality of ingredients and sourcing
- Transparent and ethical practices
- Innovative manufacturing process that preserves nutrients
- Commitment to sustainability
- Only one customer service channel with a slow response time
The Name Says It All: Harvesting Coconuts Without Doing Harm
Founded in 2010 by French entrepreneurs Douglas Riboud and Justin Guilbert, Harmless Harvest was born when the pair were pursuing their MBAs and dreaming of starting a company that embodied the values of constructive capitalism.
While we all know what capitalism is, adding “constructive” to the term means that everything the brand does benefits not only the company but also the environment and all of the people involved along the way—from the farmers to the consumers.
Now, Ben Mand has taken the helm as Harmless Harvest’s CEO, further contributing to their core values—which are, as Ben puts it, “Less harm and more good to people and the planet in the brand’s pursuit to create delicious, organic coconut-based food and beverage products.”
And the products are delicious indeed—which is no accident, as their innovative high-pressure processing (HPP) method bypasses heating, preserving both nutrients and flavor.
Plus, the coconut sourcing was methodical, as Douglas and Justin searched all over for the best of the best, finding them in Thailand with Nam Hom coconuts—a name that aptly translates to “fragrant ones.”
While there are plenty of coconut waters out there, Harmless Harvest is the closest you can get to drinking straight from the coconut—and its light pink color proves that.
In contrast to other coconut water brands, the pink hue is evidence of the antioxidants present and the lack of thermal pasteurization or additives.
Now, Harmless Harvest has expanded from just coconut water to also include other coconut-based products in their lineup, including smoothies and dairy-free yogurt.
- Quality (A+)
- Transparency (A)
- Website Experience (A)
- Customer Service (B-)
- Value (B)
- Brand Value (A)
This combination of factors and subfactors led us to an overall A- grade for Harmless Harvest.
They got high points awarded for their quality ingredients and manufacturing processes, sustainability practices, and dedication to supporting the Thai coconut farms, farmers, and communities.
Now, let’s take a deeper dive into these categories, starting with the vital component of quality.
Sustainable sourcing, manufacturing practices that preserve nutrients, great taste, and high-quality ingredients led us to award Harmless Harvest with an impressive A+ grade here.
Quality is not something that Harmless Harvest is lacking—even when we take into account all of our assessed subcategories, including:
- Packaging and labeling
- Quality, sourcing, formulation, and manufacturing of ingredients
Starting with the packaging, Harmless Harvest is quick to recognize that plastic bottles are not the ideal material for sustainability.
However, they have recently transitioned to using 100% recycled PET plastic bottles—the most sustainable option for them because their proprietary multi-step micro-filtration system is incompatible with aluminum and glass.
As Ben describes, 100% rPET plastic is the best option because it “has the lowest impact in fabrication and distribution AND diverts plastic from landfills and waterways—[which is] THE issue people have with plastic.”
Next, the quality and sourcing of Harmless Harvest’s coconut water and other coconut products are top-tier.
As mentioned, Harmless harvests their Nam Hom coconuts from 100% organic—and 25% of them are also regenerative—farms in the Samut Sakhon region of Thailand.
While many brands of coconut water also use organic coconuts, Harmless Harvest may be the only one that is 100% raw due to their HPP method that uses high pressure instead of heat, preserving nutrients, flavor, antioxidants, and that pretty pink color.
In their newer products, like the Dairy-Free Yogurt, they take freshly scooped coconut meat and puree it with a bit of water, healthy bacteria cultures, and tapioca starch—in contrast to other dairy-free yogurts that use pasteurized liquids, gums, or stabilizers.
As far as nutrition goes, coconut water is definitely high in sugar (at up to 20g per 12oz), but this naturally occurring sugar comes with vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes that make it the perfect rehydrating beverage.
Compared to other coconut water brands, the HPP manufacturing method leads to Harmless Harvest coconut water having more calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium.
The Harmless Harvest Organic Coconut Smoothies, which have a Harmless Harvest coconut water base, contain 15-18g of naturally occurring sugar from organic coconut water or mango puree—less than half the sugar of many popular bottled smoothie brands.
Lastly, all Harmless Harvest products are Fair For Life and USDA Certified and are vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free.
Harmless Harvest Product Catalog
Although their flagship product—the original coconut water—is still their most popular product, Harmless Harvest has also recently entered the dairy-free yogurt and organic coconut smoothie game.
Organic Coconut Smoothies
As our team (who may or may not have chugged more than our fair share of samples at Expo East and West) can attest, Harmless Harvest Organic Coconut Smoothies are not to be missed.
Radiant Greens™ Organic Smoothie
The Harmless Harvest Organic Coconut Smoothies are a simple blend of coconut water, coconut meat, tropical juices, and greens with no added sugar.
Organic Coconut Water, Organic Coconut Meat, Water, Organic Mango Puree, Organic Pineapple Juice, Organic Greens Blend (Organic Spinach Puree, Organic Moringa Powder, Organic Kale Powder, Organic Barley Grass Powder, Organic Spirulina Powder), Organic Natural Flavors, Organic Lemon Juice
Lastly, Harmless Harvest offers several varieties of non-dairy yogurt alternatives, including coconut dairy-free yogurt cups in Plain, Vanilla, Mango, Strawberry, and Blueberry, as well as Drinkable Dairy-Free Yogurt for an on-the-go, spoon-free experience.
Strawberry Dairy-Free Yogurt Alternative
With 8g of added sugar and organic, hand-scooped meat from young Thai coconuts, this dairy-free yogurt has a smooth and creamy texture reminiscent of the real deal.
Organic Coconut Milk (Water, Organic Coconut Meat), Organic Cane Sugar, Organic Strawberries, Organic Tapioca Starch, Organic Flavor, Pectin, and Live and Active Cultures.
With ample product information available, plus details about ingredient sourcing and manufacturing, Harmless Harvest receives an A for their transparency.
No one likes a secretive brand—most consumers want to know what’s in a product, how it’s made, and who’s making it.
Fortunately, Harmless Harvest is an open book.
As we learned from Ben, Harmless Harvest sources their young green Nam Hom coconuts from farms in the Samut Sakhon region of Thailand.
Plus, they are employing 28 agronomists to work with farmers on regenerative organic farming, intending to have 50% of their coconuts sourced from regenerative farms by the end of 2023.
Regarding transparency about the product itself, the Harmless Harvest website provides ample information about the product ingredients, nutrition facts, benefits, key points, and even tasting notes and recipe ideas.
They’re also transparent with their return policy, which was easy to find in a separate tab on the site.
However, the shipping information was a little harder to find—but could be found on the product pages or just a couple of clicks away in the FAQs section.
We gleaned from their website that HH has an HQ in Oakland, CA, plus 133 team members living and working in Thailand, ensuring that they stay invested in the coconut growing and harvesting process and community.
However, we would have liked to see more details about Harmless Harvest as a brand and the people behind it, such as the founding story, team members and leaders, or how they got to where they are today.
Harmless Harvest’s organized, well-designed, and informational website makes shopping and learning about the products and their ethical and sustainable initiatives easy.
With a minimalist pink-and-white design, functional features, and educational material abound, Harmless Harvest’s website earns an A from our team.
Each product page contains ample information about the item, including a detailed description of sourcing and manufacturing, nutritional facts, key benefits, and how to use it.
The e-commerce shopping experience is intuitive and straightforward, with an always-appreciated interactive ability to “Build Your Bunch.”
The site performed smoothly on both mobile and desktop devices, with no noticeable bugs or hard to get rid of pop-ups.
With only one customer service channel and a somewhat-vague return policy, we had to dock some points here.
Harmless Harvest has just one method of reaching them—a contact form on their site that sends replies to your email.
When we sent a message, we were quoted 48 business hours—but received a reply in less than five hours.
However, while this was better than their quoted time, five hours is still quite a bit longer than we’d like, as there are no immediate customer service channels, like live chat.
When it comes to shipping and returns, you’ll get free shipping on orders over $60; otherwise, it’s a $10 rate.
We also had to dock some points for the return policy—or lack thereof.
While we understand that Harmless Harvest products are perishable, they don’t allow refunds unless an order is damaged or defective.
But the FAQs section has a slightly different claim that states, “We want you to love your Harmless Harvest order. If you’re not satisfied with your delivery, please contact us at sho[email protected] and we will be happy to assist you.”
However, we’re not sure if that means they will refund if solely the delivery had an issue, or if it’s a satisfaction guarantee for the product itself.
Overall, the sole customer service channel and vague return policies led us to a B- score here.
Although they are double to triple the price of other coconut waters, Harmless Harvest still earns a respectable grade due to their high quality, focus on regenerative/organic farming and fair pay, and proprietary non-thermal manufacturing method.
There’s no getting around it—Harmless Harvest coconut water is pricey.
With double to triple the price of other coconut water brands, you may wonder what makes Harmless Harvest so much more expensive.
A few factors play a role here—most of the hefty price tag comes from their high-quality sourcing, HPP manufacturing process, and focus on paying fair wages and using regenerative/organic farming.
We also learned that as part of the Fair to Life Certification, Harmless Harvest
These ethical- and sustainability-focused factors, and the high-quality, raw, and antioxidant-rich coconut water, led us to give Harmless Harvest a still-commendable B grade for value.
With their wide array of philanthropic and sustainable initiatives, Harmless Harvest’s A for brand value is well deserved.
Whereas value looks at the price compared to ingredient quality, the category of brand value encapsulates how much impact the brand has in the world—from philanthropic efforts to sustainability to innovation.
Overall, it’s safe to say that Harmless Harvest is doing things right here.
Although we could write an entire tome about their philanthropic, ethical, and environment-focused practices, a couple of key points stuck out to us.
First, they are the first Fair to Life Certified coconut water.
This certification ensures a commitment to social accountability and fair trade in Thailand, where the coconuts are sourced—including setting aside money from each coconut purchased into funds for community projects like water filtration, education camps, and mobile health checkups.
Through this Fair for Life fund, Harmless Harvest has donated over a million dollars, with contributions totaling over $250,000 in 2022 to improve the livelihood of over 20,000 people in their farming communities.
Plus, in 2020, Harmless Harvest launched the Regenerative Coconuts Agriculture Project (ReCAP), which implemented a regenerative agriculture model at the Thai coconut farms they source from.
While they currently see 25% of their coconuts coming from regenerative agriculture farms, the goal is to reach 50% by the end of this year.
As Ben said, “Regenerative farming not only improves outcomes for farmers by enhancing revenue streams and building climate resiliency of their crops, but it also helps the planet by sequestering more carbon through actions like cover crops and intercropping.”
On the sustainability front, Harmless Harvest is on a mission to become zero coconut waste by 2025.
They set out on this path over four years ago and have implemented practices including:
- Developing products that use more of the whole coconut—say hello to their dairy-free yogurt, organic coconut smoothies that use coconut meat, and coconut water with pulp.
- Selling excess raw materials to other companies—even competitors—in order to achieve their zero waste to landfill goal.
- Using the coconut husk for compost on the farms and for biofuel and, in the future, biochar.
They’ve also transitioned all their beverages to 100% rPET plastic, delivering the lowest greenhouse gas emissions and eliminating plastic waste.
These initiatives are part of their commitment to work toward becoming 100% post-consumer recycled (PCR), recyclable, reusable, or compostable packaging for all products by 2025.
Lastly, Harmless Harvest also gets points for their proprietary HPP manufacturing that preserves nutrients and for constantly innovating new products to support consumer needs and their lofty sustainability goals.
All of the products we’ve tried from Harmless Harvest have been spot-on.
The coconut water is sweet, slightly salty, and very hydrating—essentially, it’s nature’s Gatorade.
Our team loved the Harmless Harvest Organic Coconut Smoothies—they weren’t overpowered by coconut, and the mango and chocolate were two stand-out flavors.
We also tried the dairy-free yogurt alternative, which had a firm and almost gelatinous texture.
The taste was very neutral, to the point where even people who don’t like coconut might be able to tolerate it.
And while we liked the unflavored version, some people may prefer adding some toppings, like fruit or honey.
FAQs About Harmless Harvest
How Is Harmless Harvest So Good?
Harmless Harvest coconut water tastes great because of the coconuts they use, which are sweeter, and the proprietary multi-step filtration process, which preserves nutrients and flavor.
Is Harmless Harvest Coconut Water Good For You?
Yes, Harmless Harvest coconut water is good for you—especially for rehydration—because it is high in naturally occurring electrolytes and antioxidants.
Why Is Harmless Harvest Coconut Water High In Sugar?
Harmless Harvest coconut water is high in sugar—but not added sugar—because coconut water has naturally occurring sugar (like fruit).
Does Harmless Harvest Go Bad?
Because of its non-pasteurized nature, Harmless Harvest products can go bad.
It’s recommended to drink Harmless Harvest coconut water within 4-5 days of opening it.
Each bottle has a best-by date that indicates how long each product will be of the best quality at refrigerated temperatures.
Is Harmless Harvest Ethical?
Yes, Harmless Harvest stands by their commitment to social accountability and fair trade in Thailand, including being the first Fair to Life Certified coconut water.
Who Is Harmless Harvest Owned By?
Danone Manifesto Ventures (DMV) is a majority stakeholder in Harmless Harvest, and Ben Mand is the current CEO.
Overall, Harmless Harvest sets the highest standards for quality, sourcing, and sustainability when it comes to coconut water.
Not only do they provide the best-tasting coconut water with more nutrients than other brands, but Harmless Harvest’s commitment to paying fair wages and supporting the environment and coconut farmers is also admirable.
The only things that kept us from giving Harmless Harvest a solid A grade were their high prices and a couple of customer service issues.